Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Idle No More and the Racist Backlash

As the great rising continues, I see that a Global TV crew has been kicked out of Attawapiskat. 

A Global News crew was escorted off the Attawapiskat reserve in northern Ontario and threatened with arrest after trying to do a story on living conditions in the community. 

And while on the one hand I'm sorry about that, because I want as many Canadians as possible to see how many First Nations people live. So they can better understand why they are rising.

On the other hand I can't blame Chief Spence and the people of that poor little community for being angry at the media.

Especially after so many in the MSM have used a leaked audit to go after them like a pack of rabid wolves. From the smarmy contempt of John Ivison.

Theresa Spence isn’t talking.The Attawapiskat First Nation chief is fasting and she can’t talk when she’s fasting, according to her spokesman Danny Metatawabin. Why not, I wondered? It’s not as if her mouth is full.

To the unbearable smugness of the libertarian Con Tasha Kheiriddin.

Any other leader in Canadian society would be pilloried for these findings. If Spence were the CEO of a private company, shareholders would be demanding her head. If she were president of a Crown corporation or public body, opposition parties would waste no time in calling for her resignation.

Who would compare running the impoverished community of Attawapiskat with all its problems to running a corporation. The idiot.

To the horror of the grotesque chickenhawk Christie Blatchford cheerleading for a violent crackdown.

Saying “I do not get it,” an Ontario Superior Court judge Monday bemoaned the passivity of Ontario police forces on illegal native barricades and issued a lament for the state of law-and-order in the nation.

And all of them stirring up the violent racists who are pouring out of the darkest and smelliest crevices of this country like cockroaches...

Even though the Idle No More movement has been overwhelmingly peaceful.The audit shows that since Chief Spence took over, the band's accounting practices have improved.  

Kennedy said the audit proves things improved after Spence became chief on Aug. 27, 2010.The audit’s examination of 400 Aboriginal Affairs transactions supports his assertion. Between 2009 and 2011, the audit found 31 transactions lacked supporting documentation. Between 2005 and 2009, the audit found 214 transactions lacked all supporting documentation.

And by attacking the Chief and her council like a lynch mob, without any evidence of wrongdoing, the Con minions in the MSM are only playing into the hands of Stephen Harper. And pouring fuel on the fires of the worst racist backlash I have ever witnessed. 

A backlash made only more disgusting and shameful by the fact it is aimed at the poorest of Canadians. 

Oh well, at least there are some in the MSM who won't play Harper's game, and would remind us what it's all about...

Most of Canada’s native people live in a misery we don’t even see because we’d rather not know. It’s one of the many drawbacks of living on the reserve, far away from the southern cities that Canadians cling to. There’s no one to hear you scream, as the Irish writer Edna O’Brien once said about rural child abuse in her own country. If you don’t like Indians getting uppity, try this. Look at the gorgeous, hopeful faces of their children, who don’t yet know they’re headed for a life of blank despair thanks to our idleness.

And those in the progressive media to remind us why Stephen Harper is so desperate to discredit the Idle No More movement.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper may be facing the defining issue of his regime. As he prepares for Friday's meeting with First Nations leaders, he faces the strongest public opposition to his core agenda that he has seen in his seven years in office, one that is widespread, motivated, and legally empowered. 

People stood up to the bully and in his first real test, he blinked. In reluctantly agreeing to meet this Friday, he has shown his nervousness. In the maliciousness with which his people have attacked Chief Theresa Spence this week, he has shown his fear.

Gosh. Isn't that a lovely thought?  Great Custer Custard Leader quivering like a royal jello at the thought of what lies ahead. All those noisy demos, all those court battles.

All those angry calls from his rabid base: "Why aren't you shooting them ??!!" All those angry calls from China. "Where is our PIPELINE !!@##!!" All those angry calls from Big Oil. "Hey boy, you're FIRED !!!!!"

Bye bye Con agenda. Bye bye bigots. Bye bye Con media, you can keep your pay walls.

It's only the beginning.

Idle No More...

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Anonymous said...

We have more than one villian in this story.

We cannot ignore there is a serious issue of mismanagement of the funds sent to the reserve prior to Spence becoming Chief in 2010.

Much like Harper's Cabinet Minister Penashue (Muscrat Falls), part of the problem is natives hurting their own.

Stew said...

Not to hard to see where and through who's misery, the HarperCons have nurtured their disgusting attitudes and bigotry. Unfortunately, there are many others in government, even from across the aisle, that support this regime's depraved behaviour. By the way, where in Gods name is the Queen's representative on this matter?. Oh yeah, he's too busy, out there in the world, selling out our Canada.

thwap said...

Powerful post Simon. We're all being called out. "Whose side are you on?"

On the one side, there are the decent, sane people, who recognize the damages caused by broken treaties, epidemics, residential schools, hunger and poverty, cultural dislocation, police brutality, rape, racism, discrimination, incarceration, kidnapping.

On the other side are the deniers. The ignorant. The racist. The stupid. The deluded. The chumps. Self-satisfied, whining pieces-of-shit.

A thought occurred to me while typing the words "cultural dislocation." These right-wing cry-babies go on and on about the "war" on their imbecilic "Christmas." Just think about how they mewl and bawl about that. But someone Aboriginal people's cultures being totally suppressed and almost driven to distinction is just something that happened in the past that they need to forget about.

"Whose side are you on?"

wazz said...

The other weekend the movement 'Idle No More' was blocking a road for an hour or so. Most people were furious that their little day going shopping was being interfered with. I spoke with a few and they were up in arms the 'Injuns' who had 'no right' to interfere with their day and travel.
So I asked them, but do you think the federal govt in Ottawa has the right to interfere with hundreds of years of treaty rights and case law to interfere with native land and rights?
"Screw them.''
Wow. I had no idea how blind so many people of about our nation's history. Or about what this is really all about.
We took their land, first of all. They signed treaties, and in exchange for the land and as obligated under treaty, government makes payments to them for things like housing, healthcare, education, infrastructure, social services, emergency services and so on. Attiwapiskat has received about $90 million since 2006. That's about $15 mil per year, or, for about 2000 residents, about $7,500 per year, each. Which means each resident there has to be covered for healthcare, education, social services, infrastructure costs etc etc for about $625 per month, each. Which is below poverty level. Way below. In Ontario the poverty level is an income of $18,600 a year or $1500 per month!
And in a place where a head of lettuce can cost $10 or a pint of milk costs $10. Imagine that. Yet people are screaming that they 'have it made' and 'blow all the money we give them. '
Out of about $15 or $16 million allocated to a FN each year like Attiwapiskat, Ottawa only allotted $2 million out of the $16 million it gave to Attawapiskat last year, for housing. And people wonder why there's a housing crisis? It is estimated that $85 million, at least, is needed for housing alone to meet Attawapiskat's housing needs!!
And, lets not forget that all expenditures to FN are signed off by the Ministry of Indian Affairs in the first place. A First Nations will generally pass a council resolution on expenditures (say on housing or education), and that must be forwarded to Ottawa for approval before they can get a penny at all! FN like Attawapiskat can't even GET any further funding unless they send Ottawa audited financial statements for expenditures! But here we have Ottawa upset about how the money was supposedly spent in Attawapiskat, even though they (Ottawa) approved these expenditures and financial statements and GAVE them the money! So then, why isn't the Ministry under the spotlight? All FN have to sign a Financial Agreement with the feds! And, Attawapiskat has been posting all its financial statements online for 7 years, which shows how money was spent.
Incidentally, and contrary to the Harper government, our Federal Court has found no financial mismanagement occurred in Attawapiskat to cause the housing shortage there.
So why 'Idle No More?'
The Harper government's Omnibus Bills, like C-45, contain hundreds of pages of NON budgetary items hidden from view that altered regulations and protections on hundreds of non budgetary items. For example and concerning First Nations it allows the government to lease native land, on a reserve even, to oil companies, or to gas or mining companies, etc., for example. And does so by going as far as to eliminate the requirement to consult with the FN community leaders, let alone obtain their approval, or allow the residents even to be aware it is happening. Which means an oil company rep can knock on someone's door, even on a reserve, and say, 'Get out, we are drilling for oil here now.' Which obviously violates hundreds of years of case law and native rights. And that's just the START.

wazz said...

So Why 'Idle No More?'
Bill C-45 also removes environmental protections from 99% of our protected lakes and rivers, from literally millions of both to just over 90 lakes and to about 60 rivers. This is not only a native concern, obviously, but a major concern to ALL of us. It also speeds up the time it takes for industry development to get federal approval, moving from 6 to 2 years. And, environmental assessments were totally gutted for the now unprotected lands because they are no longer managed by Ottawa. This is an obvious direct attack on Canada’s fresh water supply, and it was HIDDEN inside what is supposed to be a budget bill, rammed through Parliament with limited (if any) debate or scrutiny, and certainly no amendments were allowed.
Why 'Idle No More?'
FN are 'Idle No More' because Bill C-45 not only removes environmental protection of parks, rivers and lakes, but also from First Nations reserves, themselves. It gives, without consent, the Minister of Indian Affairs power to cede reserve lands without consultation; which is first of all a violation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, by handing government unilateral and arbitrary power to make direct changes to reserve lands without the consent, let alone the approval, of FN communities and leaders. It also violates treaties signed 150 years ago with FN that are still binding today.
So, not being able to drive to the shopping mall in Pt. Huron and having to wait for an hour as 'Idle No More' is on the bridge, seems to me to be pretty small potatoes of a 'hassle' compared to what Bill C-45 has in store for indigenous people in Canada, or by extrapolation for all of us. But unbelievably, many people think it is WORSE of a hassle to have to wait for an hour to cross a bridge. They complain that natives 'have it easy, and just complain even though have don't even pay taxes!' I explained to one guy that they are not ALLOWED to pay tax (or charge it) under the Indian Act, and was met by a blank stare. And that the land they gave up in treaties was leased to the Crown, for which we are obligated (under treaty) to compensate them for. Then and now. That is reality and our history. Many Canadians it seems have no concept of it.

wazz said...

So I support these people. I think more Canadians should support them. We took their land from them and have been reneging on treaties we signed on that deal ever since. We stuck them on the most decrepit, most barren and destitute land we had, called them 'reservations,' and told them they cannot pay or charge tax, where not surprisingly many live in squalor and deplorable third world conditions, in what really is a national shame and embarrassment. We took their children and tried to indoctrinate them into our culture and our religions through brutal, criminal, residential schools, trying to erase their culture, heritage, ancestry and their beliefs, where these children were abused sexually, physically and mentally. And now we want to take control of their reserves and waters.
But it's a 'hassle' to wait to cross the bridge to go shopping for an hour? Give me a break.
'Idol No More' is about confronting colonialism of a different kind, a new version of it. And colonialism never had good outcomes. The main objectives of past colonialism was to exploit if not enslave the inhabitants of the colonies and exploit their land and resources to generate wealth for the colonizing country. And then once that job was done, to abandon the inhabitants and leave them in poverty and turmoil. This is also the objective of the Harper government. But it doesn't just affect FN people, it affects all of us. And it is why that Chief Spence lady has attempted to bring it to national attention, and wants Harper to explain himself.
But he'd rather let her starve. He professes to be a 'Christian' but I'm a better Christian than him, as I would not want my worst enemy to starve. And I'm an atheist! Harper and the media do their best to try and make her look like a villain, thief and a fraud, but I support the movement and I encourage others to, before Harper's next stop is your front yard.

Marie Snyder said...

Some useful links comparing mismanagement amounts - the first, for real, the second, in jest:

Anonymous said...

The AG can't do his books either. Harper is refusing to give him, the information he needs to do his job. Harper keeps his books, very firmly closed. Many times opposing party's have asked Harper to produce, his hidden information. Harper has even prorogued Parliament, so he doesn't have to answer for his crimes.

The AG in BC is having the same problem, the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, are doing the exact same thing. They too are stonewalling, blocking and hiding information. It is well known, the BC Liberals work for Harper. Christy Clark and her BC Liberals, are getting rid of AG Doyle, to hide their crimes.

Harper did declare himself a devout Christian, on his x-mas interview. When Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation Party in 1989. He was linked with Christian Fundamentalists, among other dubious links.

I am just worried, Harper won't honor anything he says to Chief Spence. Everything other politicians did, Harper landed on them with both feet. One such incident was, an omnibus bill. Harper raised bloody hell over that. You just can't trust Harper, his word means absolutely nothing. However I guess, Chief Spence and all the F.N. know Harper, for what he really is. A Christian isn't one of them.

Harper's behavior is so bizarre. I have honestly wondered his sanity?

sassy said...

They have come for Canada's native peoples and if we don't speak out . . . . . :(

Simon said...

hi anonymous...the problem is the audit sounds worse than it is. It does not appear to be a question of anybody stealing money, just failing to fill out the paper work properly. Which is certainly not ideal, but what do you expect in small communities like that one?
The feds have to approve everything, they appoint the co-manager, demand that millions of forms be filled out, and Attawapiskat is not Bay Street. The accounting problem is only a symptom of a larger one....

Simon said...

hi Stew... As I said in my post I have never seen such an explosion of bigotry in my life. And I do blame the Cons for helping to turn us into a meaner, nastier country. Although clearly the problem is so big they can't be blamed for all of it. After this we really need to take a close look at what we are becoming, for those kind of racist feelings can only lead us to disaster. As for the GG I'm not impressed. I think he's being far too literal or legalistic. I believe David Johnston is a decent Canadian, but he should show more guts and imagination...

Simon said...

hi thwap...thanks I'm glad you liked the post. The cowardly bullying and bigotry I'm witnessing is making me so angry I don't know whether I'm coming or going. I can't believe that so many Canadians would gang up on the poorest people in the country. It's the most disgusting spectacle I've ever seen. And if any bigot dares open his mouth within hearing range of me, I hate to think what I might do to him. ;)
And yes talk about cultural dislocation. The lack of respect for the rich heritage of the First Nations is so appalling, when their stories and their art are the brightest threads in our dour tapestry. But as I said in the post the energy and renewed hope the movement has given me, more than makes up for all the other stuff...

Simon said...

hi wazz...excellent comments. As you know I agree with you completely. I know people are inconvenienced now and then, but honestly the poor things, as if they can't put up with it and understand that they are witnessing Canadian history in the making.
I still love this big beautiful country but I have to say there sure are a lot of real ugly Canadians...

Simon said...

hi Snyder...thanks for those links. I wish every Canadian could read them. But as soon as I saw that the Harperites had leaked that audit I knew how a lot of people would react. For it feeds into the worst kind of racist stereotypes. I've even had to correct some of my own friends, for jumping to conclusions about the situation in Attawapiskat. In only hope that decent Canadians will be more informed after this, and see the Con smear artists for who they really are...

Simon said...

hi anonymous...well as you know I frequently question Harper's sanity. ;) But what cannot be denied is that he created a massive crisis by making a mockery out of our democracy, scrapping environmental regulations for his friends in Big Oil, and breaking ancient treaties. We let him off easily, the native people are holding his feet to the fire, good for them....

Simon said...

hi sassy...don't worry we will speak out, for as the old saying goes, if first they come for our native people, it won't be long before they come for the rest of us. The native people may be poor, but they are proud, and they won't give up easily. And I'm looking forward to joining them, for as you know I play a mean drum... ;)

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about?,,, Who has come for your native people?

People are just tired of the same ole same. Wait til you have been alive in this country for 50 plus years and you will also be tired of paying money into a black hole that just keeps getting bigger.

We have heard this tune over and over for years and years, and no amount of money will ever fix it.

Anonymous said...

"Who has come for your Native people"? Hmmm...when I was working in an FN community in northern Manitoba, I had a conversation with one of my students' fathers who told me about RCMP and government officials coming for him to send him off to residential school.

And it's not just about money. It's about government ineptitude, complacency and lack of action. I can't begin to count the number of times I've heard of government officials and other groups coming into an FN reserve or community to "study" or "analyze" an issue and then do up "reports" and "recommendations". Its all the same bullshit and nothing concrete ever gets done....yet the lawyers, bureaucrats and all these other tools get paid.